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Troy Larson

What Makes A Good Baseball Broadcast?

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A version of this post was published in February. You can view it at http://troystwinsdugout.wordpress.co...all-broadcast/

It's opening day for the Twins. One other thing, it's the first opening day since 1986 with out the voice of Jon Gordon painting a picture of what's going on on the field. He called Twins baseball for 25 years. To honor Gordo, I thought I'd share my post I wrote in February I wrote on what I thought makes a good baseball broadcast. So, enjoy!

One of the things Gordon made sure he tried to do when calling the games on the radio as he put it, ďMake the fan feel like that theyíre at the ball park, sitting in the stands with their favorite beverage.Ē But what does that really look like or rather what does that sound like on radio since you canít see anything when listening to a game except in your mind.

To start with, the key to a good broadcast is let the crowd noise and the sounds of the ball park tell a part of the story. Corey Provus, the new voice of the Twins stated that his college instructors taught him that dead air was a bad thing to have in a radio broadcast. When he joined the Milwaukee Brewers radio team, he learned from Bob Uecker, the long time radio voice of the Brewers, that dead air was a good thing.

So, how can a radio broadcaster use dead air to their advantage?

I think the key is not telling everytime the pitcher throws a pitch. For example itís the middle of the game like in the sixth inning. The play by play announcer is talking about some major story thatís taking place in baseball. Then, thereís a pause. In that pause you hear the crowd and a second later you hear a pop as the ball hits the catchers glove.
ďHe got him! Swing and a miss!Ē the announcer says.

But, letís back up to before we learn that the batter struck out. What do we know when the ball hit the catcherís glove? Well, we know that the ball was thrown and that the bat didnít make contact with the ball. And then we learn of the batter missing the ball for a strikeout.

This is exactly what Jon Gordon would say when a Twins pitcher gets a big out in an inning. To me, this is what itís like for a radio announcer to make the listener feel like theyíre at the ball park. Theyíre using the sounds of the game and crowd to tell what is going on on the field. You can put yourself right there in that imaginary seat and feel like youíre part of the ball game.

And of course when youíre doing a part of the game where thereís more action, youíre more focused on telling the action on the field. Youíre telling of when a pitch is thrown and what the batter does since the crowd noise is drowning out the sounds of the ball hitting the glove or the bat hitting the ball. However, I think the key is to leave enough pauses in the broadcast to let some of that crowd noise be heard.

I think another key element is to use the right words to tell the action. If you listen to Gordonís call of Paul Molitorís getting his three thousandth hit youíre get the following.
Molitor for two! Molitor for three and it could be history making! It is! Paul Molitor becomes the first player to get a tripple on his three thousandth hit.Ē

To me, thatís using the right words to tell of whatís going on on the field. Youíre telling that Molitor got his three thousandth hit and youíre telling that Molitorís going to become the first player to hit a tripple on his three thousandth hit. Youíre not telling too much, but youíre telling just enough to give the listener the facts.
Speaking of stats, I think that having too much stats in a broadcast is a bad thing. You can use stats in your broadcast to point out things, but if you put too much emphasis on stats, I think it takes away from the broadcast. If someone wanted to find out some of the stats, they can go on the internet and look them up themselves.

And oh yeah, letís not forget the voice. A baseball broadcaster should have a clear pleasant voice to listen too. Many of the best broadcasters in baseball had a pleasant voice. Broadcasters like Jon Gordon, herb Carneal, Ernie Harwell and Bob Uecker to name just a few.

Well, itís about time to wrap it up. I canít wait to listen to baseball on the radio! Can you?

Updated 04-06-2012 at 12:32 AM by Troy Larson

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  1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Two words: Vin Scully.
  2. Teflon's Avatar
    Having this woman as your in-game reporter (Laura McKeeman- Tampa Bay Rays) instead of Robby Incmikowski would be a start.

    Updated 04-06-2012 at 05:54 PM by Teflon
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